By Mukembo Wilfred
The Parliamentary Forum on Ethics and Integrity has urged candidates aspiring to join the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), to uphold moral and cultural values while processing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill, 2017 which is before EALA.
The forum takes into account that the bill which has been tabled and dropped twice in the Assembly, offends the cultural and moral values of Uganda and called on the next EALA legislators to fight it.
“After all the failed attempts, they decided to sugarcoat it with some popular provisions, but when you assess it, you will find abortion, homosexuality, and these are not our values, this is not our culture, we said we must fight back,” said Hon. James Nsaba Buturo, the forum chairperson.
Nsaba Buturo was speaking during a meeting between the forum and candidates aspiring for EALA on Thursday, 04 August 2022 at Parliament House.
He said the bill which has been rejected at a regional level and within national governments should not be re-drafted as proposed.
The bill was introduced in EALA in 2017 but was withdrawn in 2021 following contestations registered during public hearings in East African Community (EAC) member states.
However, the Assembly recently instructed its Committee on General Purpose chaired by Ugandan legislator, Hon. Denis Namara, to redraft the bill.
The Gulu City Woman MP, Betty Aol Ocan said she did not buy into the justification of the bill to legalise abortion calling upon the upcoming EALA legislators to oppose it.
“The argument is that our women are dying of abortion – they propose that abortion should be legalised such that it is performed properly. I say, no. This is like saying let us legalise murder,” Ocan said.
A prolife expert, Rev. Fr Jonathan Opio, said there were several provisions which are unacceptable in Uganda, highlighting universal access to contraceptives to children without their parents’ consent as key.
“Contraception for everybody in the life cycle is very clear in the bill. If children from 10 years can now officially access contraception without parental interference, are we still protecting the innocence of children?” asked Opio.
He added: “We have made analysis on each clause of the bill and the target of the bill is promotion of abortion and contraception for everybody in the life cycle.”
Former Ngora district Woman MP, Jaqueline Amongin, also aspiring for to join EALA, revealed that once voted, she will put up a spirited fight against the bill she said is meant to legalise practices that are not yet accepted locally.
“I will be consistent on what my country’s laws say. What is my culture in regards to homosexuality? In regards to abortion, what does the law say in regards to termination of life,” asked Amongin.
She noted that her previous experience in the Pan-African Parliament, where she was member is that often people use sexual and reproductive health to mask up provisions that would otherwise be rejected.